Accessibility links

Kenya Expanding Purple Tea Production


Nelson Kibara grows purple tea bushes alongside green tea on his farm near Kerugoya, Kenya, Oct. 28, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA)

Nelson Kibara grows purple tea bushes alongside green tea on his farm near Kerugoya, Kenya, Oct. 28, 2014. (Hilary Heuler / VOA)

Kenya is the third-largest tea producer in the world. Almost all of the tea grown in the East African nation is exported.

Black tea is responsible for nearly all of the exports. But some Kenyan farmers have begun growing purple tea.

Purple tea was first grown near Mount Kenya, the country’s highest mountain, in 2008.

The plant’s color is a sign of a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin. Some people believe purple tea is better for your health than green or black tea.

Lilian Kerio is a biochemist at the Kenya Tea Research Institute.

“We have researched a lot on the health benefits from cancerous models to models that have undergone extreme oxidative stress, and we have seen that purple tea actually alleviates the stress in these cells and we have used that to educate our people that purple tea is actually good for your health.”

The Kenya Tea Development Authority says Kenyan tea growers have received orders for purple tea from all over the world. It says the tea is being shipped to India, Japan and many European countries.

Lerionka Tiampati is the director of the Kenya Tea Development Authority.

“So as the market warms up to it and as more demand comes up, then we will expand the acreage under the crop but as it is right now, that is the process so people are getting used to it. But as I said, it is an upmarket product. It is not a mass market product so it’s never really going to replace the CTC, or orthodox teas, that you see in the global market.”

Only a few stores in Kenya sell purple tea, which has a sweet taste. People who try it often buy more.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Correspondent Rael Ombuor reported this story from Nairobi for VOANews.com. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted the report for English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section, or visit our Facebook page.

______________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

antioxidant – n. a substance that is added to food and other products to prevent harmful chemical reactions in which oxygen is combined with other substances

benefit – n. a good or helpful result or effect

stress – n. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work, etc.

alleviate – v. to reduce the pain or trouble of (something); to make (something) less painful, difficult, or severe

upmarket – adj. made for or appealing to people who have a lot of money

orthodox – adj. usual or traditional

Your opinion

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG